The Hollow Knight
The Bleached Arbiter
She who lived in the Dark
“She who has absolutely no chill”
Titles that matter:
Age: Judging by her coat and armor, she’s seen her fair share of combat. Her face is always hidden, but her skin is top notch, hinting at either youth or a consistent skincare routine.
”Uh, no. I’m pretty sure that operating a tube of moisturiser is beyond her. Unless it has something like… holy water in it.”
Race: Human, with additional accessories.
Weight: A preposterously large number. Far too many rocks to carry.
Appearance: A tall and lithe woman, clad from head to toe in scuffed, alabaster armor. The marked and stained, onyx trench coat she wears over it is just as worn, looking in severe need of mending or retiring. She wears a thick, triangular-shaped plate over her face instead of a helmet. The makeshift mask is almost featureless, save a couple of purple, pulsing lines that bisect it vertically, horizontally, and diagonally. Her waist-length, dark-slate mane is usually left loose and unkempt, unless someone is charitable enough to do it up for her.
Consider hairbrush for next birthday present. Find out when birthday is.”
Armour and Clothing:
The Lord’s Intervention:
The bone-white armor that covers Syn from neck-to-toe. Sleek and relatively form-fitting, it comprises of a mix between diamond plates and triangular scales, linked together almost seamlessly. The plates appear to be made of an opaque ivory-material, while the triangular plates have the appearance of dark granite. A large diamond sits in the center of her torso, effectively acting as a chestplate, with dozens of increasingly smaller plates spreading out from that center armorpiece, like an advanced form of mail. There’s a similar arrangement going on for the other plated parts—namely along her limbs and pelvis, the latter from which hangs a skirt of faulds. Her joints are somewhat in-between, housed by thin, overlapping layers of alabaster plate, forming makeshift knee and elbow guards. A tight and rigid neck guard rings Syn’s collar.
As mentioned, most of the armor is fairly sleek in appearance, with exception to the gauntlets and boots. The gauntlets bear thick, rigid guards along the top of the forearm. The boots bear small intakes and thrusters on the front and back respectively. A single, much larger thruster is on the armor’s back, sealed behind a shutter when it's not in use.
In terms of defensive capabilities, the armor’s plates are thicker and far stronger than your average knight’s plate armor, while the triangular scales make for a fancy looking set of mail. Although both are quite adept at dealing with slashing attacks, the tiny gaps between are vulnerable to yielding to well-placed stabs. This is especially true for the plates around her waist. The armor’s breastplate is by far the strongest and thickest part, as it houses her Umbral Engine.
Energy drawn from the Engine can be used to drastically improve her strength, though doing this puts strain on her muscles and components. The armor overall is magically inert and incredibly difficult to manipulate with magic, though its protection against damaging magics (eg. a lightning bolt) are minimal. Although she and the armor might appear fine on the surface (depending on where you hit her), there’s a good chance that whatever’s underneath that spot of armor will be slightly fried. Due to the cooling requirements of the Engine, the gaps between the plates around her torso are able to contract and expand at will, and the plates themselves are incredibly good at heat dispersion.
His Holy Raiment:
A dark, loose and incredibly worn trench coat with scuffed, gunmetal clasps. Two graphite coloured plates are held in place by its button-up epaulettes. Many mysterious stains cover the coat’s surface, like a DIY camo pattern. Most of the edges are either torn or frayed, and the deep base color has started to fade, leaving it splotchy in many areas.
Regardless of its haggard appearance, the jacket's stitching still holds together quite well. There is a rather large gap tailored into the back of the coat to accommodate the exhaust on Syn’s armor, under the back vent.
In terms of physical and magical properties, the coat’s thick weave is still able to withstand off-center stabs and slashes from your average blade with the slightest of scarring. It’s magical defences are diminished to the point of being nonexistent, though it does not conduct electricity, nor will it ignite or freeze without excessive effort.
The care label is torn, but it’s obvious to anyone that this garment is a dry clean only item.
”I bet you she tried to machine wash it. And yes, I still stand by my statement; I don’t think she knows what a washing machine is, but a friendly reminder that lawn mowers are also machines. Don’t discriminate.”
Umbral Engine Mk II: Prototype Photon Oppressor:
A magitech generator that’s housed within Syn’s chest cavity. The mechanics and science behind the Engine are lost on her (”What isn’t lost on her?”), but all Syn knows is that it works and provides more than enough energy for her needs. In reality, the Engine draws Divine energy from an unknown source and converts it into Dark elemental magic that can be used to fuel her body, armor and weapon. Aside from the recommended decennial service, the Engine is capable of healing and repairing Syn, although this takes a considerable amount of time, similar to the human body’s own healing processes.
The device is responsible for sustaining nearly all of Syn’s bodily functions. It performs the function of a heart in her circulatory system, replaces the need for a digestive system, and acts as a pseudo immune system. It is always running at a baseline level to keep all of these running, but will slowly rev up and increase her magical energy pool as Syn exerts herself, though the charging process can be started at will. This means that she does take a little bit of time to get into peak performance. At low charge or baseline levels, her general combat performance is lowered very slightly, though she is still considerably stronger than any human.
It requires at least half charge before the thrusters on the armor can be engaged to propel rapidly forward in a mostly straight line. Very minor course corrections of a degree or two are possible, though with her speed and weight, such changes are barely noticeable. Engaging them allows Syn to engage a very slight hovering effect, making her soles levitate up to four centimeters off the ground. It also draws practically all resources from the Engine and doesn’t allow the use of any other skills, aside from the force brakes attached on to the heel of each boot. Using these immediately shuts off her boosters, kills the hover effect, and cuts her velocity significantly. This is usually enough to allow her to stop without too much additional effort.
The maximum size of the energy pool is ‘considerable’, to put it lightly. It is also constantly replenishing, although there are a few reasons as to why Syn doesn’t start demolishing things at max output.
The first is heat; drawing large amounts of energy from the Engine generates a fair bit of heat which can be quite unpleasant for extended periods. Heat will be vented from the Engine and her armor in jets of black smoke, but that can only do so much. The main heat generating culprits are the armor’s thrusters and various stages of Pax Deorum. The second is the Engine’s side-effects, which can be experienced if Syn draws on too much of the Engine’s power at one time. Nausea, headaches, burning, bleeding, general pain and slight soul dissolution; these and more are all potential consequences if she exceeds the ‘safe’ levels of the Engine, which are around 75% at full output.
It should be noted that exceeding the Engine’s safe levels requires a certain degree of willpower and self-focus; which Syn is not capable of, so long as she’s wearing the Ode. Additionally, drawing significant amounts of energy for abilities will result in the Engine spinning down and lowering its output momentarily.
Ode To Faith: Ever Forward as He Dictates:
The full face mask that covers Syn’s face. Fastened at her temples, the Ode to Faith is a triangular sheet of repurposed plate, with a bone-white band clamped over its surface. Three shining, royal purple streaks crisscross this white shroud, meeting in its center. Despite its lack of eye, nose or mouth holes, Syn is able to see, speak and breathe as though it’s not there.
Aside from granting the blessing of plate protection over her face, the purpose of the Ode is to help imbue a sense of drive and purpose into the supposedly-lacking Syn. A hybrid of Divine Artifact and magitech engineering, it possesses very limited, non-sentient programming to usher her in a metaphorically ‘forward’ facing direction and helps to nullify any stray, independent, self-serving or ‘distracting’ thoughts when it is functioning properly.
As a result, it becomes incredibly easy to predict what she will do in any situation. For example, if she were surrounded in a field of enemies, it can almost be guaranteed that the swordswoman will keep fighting until she is downed or the entire area is cleared of life.
The Ode also contains fairly potent emotional and memory suppressing capabilities, as well as an experimental repair function, though what it’s supposed to repair is nearly anyone’s guess. Mind altering/affecting magics are severely dampened at the cost of creativity and apparent changes to her sword form. The aforementioned programming is useful for pain negation, though this also results in decreased self-preservation. As mentioned above, the Ode also prevents her from exceeding the safe limits of her Umbral Engine.
However, Syn is completely in the dark to the true nature of the Ode. To her, the Ode is simply one of His Gifts to her, and helps her enact His Will, no matter where in the realms she may be. Whatever she hears is the voice of His Messengers and is all part of His Grand Plan.
On the off chance that the Ode is somehow damaged, there is a fair chance that there will be some interference from the mask’s programming will be disrupted and possibly mixed in with whatever influences the Divine part of the artifact holds. This may result in some strange behaviour from the Ode, which may eventually be replicated in misdirection and bizarreness from Syn.
Combat Prowess/Physical Ability:
Three S’s: Strength, Swordsmanship and Stamina. These are the main areas that Syn excels in.
Due to both a combination of her strength, weight, and her Engine, it’s incredibly unlikely that Syn will ever lose a wrestling match to any normal human. The armoured woman is able to throw a man across a room with relative ease,
Her swordsmanship alone is formidable enough to match the most seasoned of knights. With little regard to form or grace, Syn tends to focus on simply blocking and then overwhelming her foes with powerful, overbearing strokes. You can probably thank the Ode for that.
Swifter or more aggressive foes tend to fare better than defensive ones, as the Ode’s influence causes her to fall into a loop of blocking, followed up with more blocking, and a side helping of blocking. However, her sound and adept defensive technique hints at a deeper understanding of swordplay, all buried under the stoic and simple exterior that she portrays.
Thanks to her Engine, her stamina is also boosted considerably. As long as the Engine is operational, Syn is able to continue running all day.
Which is where the fourth S comes in; she’s remarkably slow.
Her speed is impressively lacklustre. A relatively fit adult could comfortably jog to keep pace with her top running speed. This is usually where the afterburner on her armour comes in handy, but that has many limitations. If she gets close enough, she is able to lunge or dash a meter or two, but anything further is basically beyond her.
Her flexibility and agility is slightly under than that of a similarly sized human, but not noticeably so. She knows only basic techniques for other weapons, putting her skill at that of a novice. Unarmed, she is surprisingly capable; with a workable knowledge of blocking and strikes.
”I thought the Fourth S was going to be ‘stupid’, but slow works.”
Providence: The Guiding Hand:
A large, oversized claymore, made from what seems to be black and smoky quartz. A white device made from the same material as Syn’s armor has been fused onto one side of the guard, which pulses in time with the purple veins under the blade’s surface. In the very center of Providence’s guard is a pitch black singularity, which constantly releases a dark, sweet-tasting smoke. Black, ashy motes occasionally drift from this magical anomaly, though they leave no residue when they land on a surface.
Measuring at over 160 centimeters long and with a rather thick blade, the sword is incredibly heavy in this form; far too heavy for the average human. Syn, however, has no trouble swinging it around with one hand. Its edge is slightly keener than that of your average steel blade and it is capable of blocking magical projectiles.
Providence is also capable of shifting to a smaller, katana-shaped form, in which it trades its active magical abilities for a much sharper cutting edge. Form shifting takes a mere second, but cannot be done midswing.
With a mere thought, Providence can be empowered by Syn, granting it several additional effects depending on how much energy is imparted into it. These are as follows:
Stage 1: Dark energy surges from the singularity in the sword’s guard. The blade glows and is now capable of blocking and deflecting more potent projectiles. Does not draw any energy from Syn’s Engine and can be maintained fairly easily.
Stage 2: Additional power is continuously diverted from Syn’s Umbral Engine, shrouding the sword’s blade in a purple energy. Effectively increases blade’s length and width slightly, allowing it to block streams of energy. Each swing creates a glowing aftertrail in the air, which will explode into a concussive burst if Syn follows through without interruption. If the swing is blocked or interrupted, then there is additional force imparted through the blow instead of an aftershock. Each burst and swing in this stage lowers the Engine energy level slightly.
Stage 3: Floods the sword with energy, enveloping the entire weapon in purple flame; this might lead to some slight damage of Syn’s gauntlets, depending on how long Providence is held in this stage. The blade length and width are effectively doubled for one strike. A more potent version of Stage 2, though the concussive blast is now magically charged. Cuts Engine capacity by over half of max and generates a lot of heat; from both the Engine and the sword. Providence cannot be charged to this level mid-motion; it has to be held completely still.
Put simply, The Parting is a magically empowered, charging thrust. It uses only the latent energy within Providence and requires none from Syn’s Engine. At the direction of its wielder, the blade projects an enormous amount of dark energy from the tip of its blade, with some magical run-off fanning out from around it. With a full-motion thrust and a vocal evocation, the sword will surge forward with terrifying speed, converting the magical fallout into a spiraling, conical barrier of solid blacklight.
Anything that is directly in front of the charge will be struck by the energy being emitted from the sword’s tip, whereas anything to the side is more likely to be hit by the blacklight barrier or a magically-generated shockwave. As logic dictates, the apex of the cone is the deadliest; as the energy being projected there is incredibly potent, capable of rapidly breaking down most materials. The magical barrier is incredibly dense and solid to the touch.
Additionally, the armor’s main afterburner can be activated to make the charge even faster. Doing so requires more energy expenditure than they would normally require, however.
The ability will pick up more speed the further it travels. Its course cannot be altered once begun, though it can be cancelled at will; all Syn has to do is pull on the sword and swipe it to disperse the barrier and grind to an almost immediate halt (brakes will be necessary). However, the shorter the charge, the more residual waste energy will be left in the sword’s blade. Waste energy prevents the use of Providence’s other abilities, unless extra ‘clean’ energy is siphoned from the Engine to remove the excess residue. Note that there is always a hard cooldown period that will prevent The Parting from being used again.
”I’m sorry, what? Did I just read speed? I just read ‘speed’, didn’t I? There, ‘terrifying speed’. Now hol’ up a damn sec—”
Skills and Abilities:
By His Grace:
Due to the Engine in her chest, Syn needs slightly less oxygen than a normal person to survive and her bones are considerably stronger and heavier than any human’s. This is partially due to her armor; some parts are simply bonded to her flesh, whereas other segments replace those body parts entirely. If you were to somehow dissect her, it’d be very difficult to tell where the knight ends and the armor starts, but there are some certainties; everything below the knee and in her chest is synthetic. These areas are also the strongest and most heavily armored parts of her. Despite this, Syn can still feel pain in any location if an attack penetrates her armor or has sufficient force behind it.
Assuming that her Engine is running at baseline levels, she is noticeably stronger than any human. More energy can be drawn from the Engine to further increase this, though this puts strain on her body and means she is at risk of injuring herself.
Her blood is a mix of red and black, as though someone had spilled a pot of ink in it. Blood is less vital to her in terms of survival, but it is required to offset the side effects of her Umbral Engine.
She has a very very slight resistance to most elements, though her heat and fire resistance is much higher, so she can withstand the heat from her Umbral Engine. Light magic, however, is incredibly effective against her.
“Brilliant woman, never argues or questions anything. Not a single payment or invoicing dispute. Highly recommended, incredibly easy to get along with. Four stars.”
”I bet you forty-Four dollars that every now-and-then she wakes up on the wrong side of the bed, picks herself off the floor and goes “Time for a crusade.” This is why I’m an atheist.”
”I have a sneaking suspicion that she doesn’t like me. As I’ve always said, she has poor taste.”
”Great listener and a walking comedy show. Seriously, the closest thing I’ve seen to a militarised Roomba. Antique vase or foul-smelling bad guys; doesn’t matter. She’ll knock ‘em over or knock ‘em dead. Just keep her out of my apartment.”
”She lifts. She most definitely lifts.”
”She has an amazing smile. Have you seen it? I don’t know if you’ve seen more perfect teeth, other than mine.”
“Not gonna lie, I’ve had more scintillating conversations with a lobotomised mime. Doesn’t always respond to questions either. Hard of hearing, sweet pea?... I rest my case.”
”I doubt that even a full facial reconstruction could get her to smile. Not sure if she even has a mouth.”
”There was this one time where she tried to bring that sword on the plane. I told her that it was check-in luggage, but she’s stubborn.”
”She has this aura of…. edginess, don’t you think? Like, if you walk too close to her, you’re going to cut yourself or lose all your hair… Or is that radiation? Maybe I’m getting the two mixed up.”